Quotations of Wisdom

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James Bryce

Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. [Q2068]

Eoghan Harris

Factualism is fancy foreplay, it rarely penetrates the truth. Factualism is media masturbation. [Q140]

Gregor Mendel

My scientific studies have afforded me great gratification; and I am convinced that it will not be long before the whole world acknowledges the results of my work. [Q1429]


I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning. [Q884]

Thor Heyerdahl

Civilization grew in the beginning from the minute that we had communication - particularly communication by sea that enabled people to get inspiration and ideas from each other and to exchange basic raw materials. [Q1532]

Henry Drummond

An idea is a greater monument than any cathedral. And the advance of man's knowledge is a greater miracle than all the sticks turned to snakes or the parting of the waters — Inherit the Wind [Q104]

Werner Heisenberg

What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning. [Q726]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

People who honestly mean to be true really contradict themselves much more rarely than those who try to be 'consistent'. [Q1080]

Brian Greene

The boldness of asking deep questions may require unforeseen flexibility if we are to accept the answers. [Q741]

Noam Chomsky

All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume. [Q150]

Albert Einstein

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Q1367]

Bruce Schneier

It is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could someday facilitate a police state. [Q2043]

Buckminster Fuller

All of humanity now has the option to "make it" successfully and sustainable, by virtue of our having minds, discovering principles and being able to employ these principles to do more with less. — Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth [Q124]


The best is the enemy of the good. [Q64]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Genius always finds itself a century too early. [Q413]

John Boyd Orr

When the fabric of society is so rigid that it cannot change quickly enough, adjustments are achieved by social unrest and revolutions. [Q1158]

Richard P. Feynman

Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. [Q973]

Carl Jung

Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not. [Q257]

Tracy Chapman

Truth is Divinity — From the lyrics of "Heaven's Here on Earth, Album New Beginning" [Q1490]


Dr. Mark Powell: What if I were to tell you that according to a man who lived on our planet, named Einstein, that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light?

prot: I would say that you misread Einstein, Dr. Powell. May I call you Mark? You see Mark, what Einstein actually said was that nothing can accelerate to the speed of light because its mass would become infinite. Einstein said nothing about entities already traveling at the speed of light or faster.



An anthill increases by accumulation. Medicine is consumed by distribution. That which is feared lessens by association. This is the thing to understand. [Q1189]

Mohandas Gandhi

Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. [Q564]

Sam Ewing

When you finally go back to your old home, you find it wasn't the old home you missed but your childhood. [Q2076]


Mind moves matter. [Q1584]

Thor Heyerdahl

Progress is man's ability to complicate simplicity. [Q1539]

Napoleon Hill

Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire. [Q685]

Robert Pirsig

The truth knocks on your door and you say, go away I'm looking for the truth, and it goes away. Puzzling. [Q373]

Jesse Jackson

Deliberation and debate is the way you stir the soul of our democracy. [Q1548]


It were better to have no opinion of God at all than such a one as is unworthy of him; for the one is only belief - the other contempt. [Q779]


I am puzzled. — Master Po — That is the beginning of wisdom. — "Kung Fu" The Hoots 1973 Season 2, Episode 10 [Q596]

Margaret Mead

Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful. [Q951]

Richard P. Feynman

It's because someone knows something about it that we can't talk about physics. It's the things that nobody knows about that we can discuss. We can talk about the weather; we can talk about social problems; we can talk about psychology; we can talk about international finance... so it's the subject that nobody knows anything about that we can all talk about! [Q971]

Konrad Lorenz

Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one. [Q1432]

Jonas Salk

Neither wisdom nor good will is now dominant. Hope lies in dreams, in imagination and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality. [Q486]

Václav Havel

If we are to change our world view, images have to change. The artist now has a very important job to do. He's not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people, he's really needed. [Q1747]


Whenever a doctor cannot do good, he must be kept from doing harm. [Q1035]

David Hume

To hate, to love, to think, to feel, to see; all this is nothing but to perceive. [Q1363]

Peter Coyote

Everyone knows that our current system is kind of like legalized prostitution. The corporate sector completely controls the civic sector. [Q2044]

Ludwig van Beethoven

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. [Q636]

Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillispie

(MD) Why can't I play like you? (DG) Because you don't hear it that way. [Q17]

Galileo Galilei

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. [Q938]

Senator Paul Simon

The Telecommunication Act of 1996 passed overwhelmingly. I cast one of six votes against it. The measure contained some good things, but it opened the door wide for concentrated ownership in radio and television. Since its passage there has been a huge shift in radio toward a few large corporations owning all the major outlets. In St. Louis, for example, six of the fourteen stations are now owned by one corporation that has holdings all over the nation. The value of radio stations shot up after the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and soon the top three corporations in radio ownership had sold everything to one company ... Can I say that up to this point this has caused any harm? No, but it will. — (Paul Simon's Autobiography, page 297) [Q1817]

Swami Vivekananda

The Vedanta recognizes no sin it only recognizes error. And the greatest error, says the Vedanta is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature, and that you have no power and you cannot do this and that. [Q1142]

Edward Levi

The concept of reason itself appears as an artificial attempt to separate intellectual powers from the frustrations, emotions, and accidents which cause events; the concept of reason is viewed as facade to prevent change. [Q212]

D. A. Ridgely

When I was young American politics were fairly straightforward: conservatives let you keep all your money in return for telling you how to live your life, while liberals let you live as you pleased in return for all your money. Now the only difference is whether they want your money or your life first. [Q1839]

Leonardo da Vinci

Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes! [Q695]


Raising children is an uncertain thing; success is reached only after a life of battle and worry. [Q771]

Marshall McLuhan

It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame. [Q1463]

Scott Nesler

Truth is found in the journey. Facts are often road blocks. When the answer is traversed it is discovered the question was never asked in the first place. [Q2023]

David Boies

Here you have a new technology, and if that technology is going to work, you must allow people to provide central indexes of the data. It's just like a newspaper that publishes classified ads. [Q1215]

Albert Einstein

May the conscience and the common sense of the peoples be awakened, so that we may reach a new stage in the life of nations, where people will look back on war as an incomprehensible aberration of their forefathers! [Q583]


It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world. [Q852]


Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing. [Q96]

Henry David Thoreau

However mean your life is, meet it and live it: do not shun it and call it hard names. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do want society. [Q653]

Julia Robinson

We aren't pushing a particular agenda, but we're opening a dialogue on how we need to be doing something different. We think it is positive to talk about ideas. We selected the university to do that because the university is intended to be a place where you can debate ideas without being polarized. [Q1643]

Margaret Mead

Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we've put it in an impossible situation. [Q954]

Francis Bacon

Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority. [Q1952]

Woodrow Wilson

The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy. [Q497]

Margaret Mead

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. [Q946]

Senator Paul Simon

Elijah Lovejoy's Speech

I feel, Mr. Chairman, that this is the most solemn moment of my life. I feel, I trust, in some measure the responsibilities which at this hour I sustain to these, my fellow-citizens, to the Church of which I am a minister, to my country, and to God. And let me beg of you, before I proceed further, to construe nothing I shall say as being disrespectful to this assembly. I have no such feeling; far from it. And if I do not act or speak according to their wishes at all times, it is because I cannot conscientiously do it.

It is proper I should state the whole matter, as I understand it, before this audience. I do not stand here to argue the question, as presented by the report of the committee. My only wonder is that the honourable gentleman, the chairman of that committee, for whose character I entertain great respect, though I have not the pleasure of his personal acquaintance—my only wonder is how that gentleman could have brought himself to submit such a report.

Mr. Chairman, I do not admit that it is the business of this assembly to decide whether I shall or shall not publish a newspaper in this city. The gentlemen have, as the lawyers say, made a wrong issue. I have the right to do it. I know that I have the right freely to speak and publish my sentiments, subject only to the laws of the land for the abuse of that right. This right was given me by my Maker; and is solemnly guaranteed to me by the constitution of these United States, and of this State. What I wish to know of you is, whether you will protect me in the exercise of this right; or whether, as heretofore, I am to be subjected to personal indignity and outrage. These resolutions, and the measures proposed by them, are spoken of as a compromise—a compromise between two parties. Mr. Chairman, this is not so. There is but one party here. It is simply a question whether the law shall be enforced, or whether the mob shall be allowed, as they now do, to continue to trample it under their feet, by violating with impunity the rights of an innocent individual.

Mr. Chairman, what have I to compromise? If freely to forgive those who have so greatly injured me, if to pray for their temporal and eternal happiness, if still to wish for the prosperity of your city and State, notwithstanding all the indignities I have suffered in it—if this be the compromise intended, then do I willingly make it. My rights have been shamefully, wickedly outraged; this I know, and feel, and can never forget. But I can and do freely forgive those who have done it. But if by a compromise is meant that I should cease from doing that which duty requires of me, I cannot make it. And the reason is, that I fear God more than I fear man. Think not that I would lightly go contrary to public sentiment around me. The good opinion of my fellow-men is dear to me, and I would sacrifice anything but principle to obtain their good wishes; but when they ask me to surrender this, they ask for more than I can, than I dare give. Reference is made to the fact that I offered a few days since to give up the editorship of the Observer into other hands. This is true; I did so because it was thought or said by some that perhaps the paper would be better patronised in other hands. They declined accepting my offer, however, and since then we have heard from the friends and supporters of the paper in all parts of the State. There was but one sentiment among them, and this was, that the paper could be sustained in no other hands than mine. It is also a very different question, whether I shall voluntarily, or at the request of friends, yield up my post, or whether I shall forsake it at the demand of a mob. The former I am at all times ready to do, when circumstances occur to require it, as I will never put my personal wishes or interests in competition with the cause of that Master whose minister I am. But the latter, be assured, I NEVER will do. God, in his providence, so say all my brethren, and so I think, has devolved upon me the responsibility of maintaining my ground here; and, Mr. Chairman, I am determined to do it. A voice comes to me from Maine, from Massachusetts, from Connecticut, from New York, from Pennsylvania—yea, from Kentucky, from Mississippi, from Missouri—calling upon me, in the name of all that is dear in heaven or earth, to stand fast; and by the help of God, I WILL STAND. I know I am but one, and you are many. My strength would avail but little against you all. You can crush me, if you will; but I shall die at my post, for I cannot and will not forsake it.

Why should I flee from Alton? Is not this a free State? When assailed by a mob at St. Louis, I came hither, as to the home of freedom and of the laws. The mob has pursued me here, and why should I retreat again? Where can I be safe, if not here? Have not I a right to claim the protection of the laws? What more can I have in any other place? Sir, the very act of retreating will embolden the mob to follow me wherever I go. No, sir, there is no way to escape the mob but to abandon the path of duty, and that, God helping me, I will never do.

It has been said here that my hand is against every man, and every man's hand against me. The last part of the declaration is too painfully true. I do indeed find almost every hand lifted against me; but against whom, in this place, has my hand been raised? I appeal to every individual present; whom of you have I injured? Whose character have I traduced? Whose family have I molested? Whose business have I meddled with? If any, let him rise here and testify against me. [No one answers]

And do not your resolutions say that you find nothing against my private or personal character? And does any one believe that, if there was anything to be found, it would not be found and brought forth? If in anything I have offended against the law, I am not so popular in this community as that it would be difficult to convict me. You have courts, and judges, and juries; they find nothing against me. And now you come together for the purpose of driving out a confessedly innocent man, for no cause but that he dares to think and speak as his conscience and his God dictate. Will conduct like this stand the scrutiny of your country, of posterity, above all, of the judgment-day? For remember, the Judge of that day is no respecter of persons. Pause, I beseech you, and reflect! the present excitement will soon be over; the voice of conscience will at last be heard. And in some season of honest thought, even in this world, as you review the scenes of this hour, you will be compelled to say, `He was right; he was right!'

But you have been exhorted to be lenient and compassionate, and in driving me away to affix no unnecessary disgrace upon me. Sir, I reject all such compassion. You cannot disgrace me. Scandal, and falsehood, and calumny have already done their worst. My shoulders have borne the burden till it sits easy upon them. You may hang me up as the mob hung up the individuals of Vicksburg! You may burn me at the stake, as they did McIntosh at St. Louis, or you may tar and feather me, or throw me into the Mississippi, as you have often threatened to do; but you cannot disgrace me. I, and I alone, can disgrace myself; and the deepest of all disgrace would be, at a time like this, to deny my Master by forsaking his cause. He died for me, and I were most unworthy to bear his name should I refuse, if need be, to die for him!

Again, you have been told that I have a family, who are dependent on me, and this has been given as a reason why I should be driven off as gently as possible. It is true, Mr. Chairman, I am a husband and a father; and this it is that adds the bitterest ingredient to the cup of sorrow I am called to drink. I am made to feel the wisdom of the Apostle's advice, `It is better not to marry.' I know sir, that in this contest I stake not my life only, but that of others also. I do not expect my wife will ever recover the shock received at the awful scenes through which she was called to pass at St. Charles. And how was it the other night on my return to my house? I found her driven to the garret, through fear of the mob, who were prowling round my house; and scarcely had I entered the house ere my windows were broken in by the brickbats of the mob, and she so alarmed that it was impossible for her to sleep or rest that night. I am hunted as a partridge upon the mountains; I am pursued as a felon through your streets; and to the guardian power of the law I look in vain for that protection against violence which even the vilest criminal may claim.

Yet think not that I am unhappy. Think not that I regret the choice that I have made. While all around me is violence and tumult, all is peace within. An approving conscience and the rewarding smile of God is a full recompense for all that I forego and all that I endure. Yes, sir, I enjoy a peace which nothing can destroy. I sleep sweetly and undisturbed, except when awaked by the brickbats of the mob.

No, sir, I am not unhappy. I have counted the cost and stand prepared freely to offer up my all in the service of God. Yes, sir, I am fully aware of all the sacrifices I make in here pledging myself to continue this contest to the last. (Forgive these tears—I had not intended to shed them, and they flow not for myself, but others.) But I am commanded to forsake father, and mother, and wife, and children for Jesus' sake; and as his professed disciple I stand prepared to do it. The time for fulfilling this pledge in my case, it seems to me, has come. Sir, I dare not flee away from Alton. Should I attempt it, I should feel that the angel of the Lord, with his flaming sword, was pursuing me wherever I went. It is because I fear God that I am not afraid of all who oppose me in this city. No, sir, the contest has commenced here, and here it must be finished. Before God and you all, I here pledge myself to continue it, if need be, till death. If I fall, my grave shall be made in Alton.


Randy Pausch

I'm a scientist who sees inspiration as the ultimate tool for doing good. [Q54]

Eugene McCarthy

Saying we should keep the two-party system simply because it is working is like saying the Titanic voyage was a success because a few people survived on life rafts. [Q2028]

Mohandas Gandhi

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. [Q571]


What each man feared would happen to himself, did not trouble him when he saw that it would ruin another. [Q1592]

Jim Lehrer

Best I can do for them is to give them every piece of information I can find and let them make the judgments. That's just my basic view of my function as a journalist. [Q475]

Michel de Montaigne

We only labor to stuff the memory, and leave the conscience and the understanding unfurnished and void. [Q2102]

Senator Paul Simon

There are a few "hot button" issues that people experienced in politics know are volatile. ... Those issues are abortion, gun control, gays in the military, and affirmative action. [Q1825]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

To be great is to be misunderstood. [Q423]

Ralph Johnson

Software is not limited by physics, like buildings are. It is limited by imagination, by design, by organization. In short, it is limited by properties of people, not by properties of the world. [Q248]

Leo Tolstoy

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. [Q1060]

Václav Havel

The history of the human race has generated several papers articulating basic moral imperatives, or fundamental principles, of human coexistence that — maybe in association with concurring historical events — substantially influenced the fate of humanity on this planet. Among these historic documents, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — adopted fifty years ago today — holds a very special, indeed, unique position. It is the first code of ethical conduct that was not a product of one culture, or one sphere of civilization only, but a universal creation, shaped and subscribed to by representatives of all humankind. Since its very inception, the Declaration has thus represented a planetary, or global commitment, a global intention, a global guideline. For this reason alone, this exceptional document — conceived as a result of a profound human self-reflection in the wake of the horrors of World War II, and retaining its relevance ever since — deserves to be remembered today. [Q1769]

Edward de Bono

Experience has shown that reason and logic can never change perception, emotions, prejudices, and beliefs. Yet we continue in the pious hope that if everyone would 'see reason' the world would be so much better. As we shall see later, there are very good reasons why logic will never affect emotions and beliefs. The only way to do this is through perception. But we have totally failed to develop an understanding of perception. (from the book, I am Right, you are Wrong. Pg 40) [Q2009]

Benjamin Franklin

Thinking aloud is a habit which is responsible for most of mankind's misery. — HBO Mini Series John Adams [Q1112]


It is not known precisely where angels dwell whether in the air, the void, or the planets. It has not been God's pleasure that we should be informed of their abode. [Q2100]

Joseph Franklin Rutherford

If you are kept in ignorance of the true way and permit yourself to rely upon and be guided by the opinion of imperfect man, you can never gain the riches that will bring you peace and lasting happiness. [Q720]

Mohandas Gandhi

An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching. [Q557]

Bertrand Russell

I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine. [Q443]

Scott Nesler

Sometimes we become so focused on the syntax of words that meaning is lost. Understanding is an iterative process often involving fuzzy logic. Don't let words get in the way of understanding. [Q400]

Adlai III Stevenson

The small daughter of a famous divine was busy with her crayon and pencil, and her mother asked her whose picture she was drawing. "God's," she replied. "But, dear, nobody knows how He looks," her mother admonished. "They will when I'm finished," said the child. [Q1841]

David Baker

What that book does for me is give me the tools in the same way that I had the tools when I learned the regular scales or the alphabet. If you give me the tools, the syntax, and the grammar, it still doesn't tell me how to write Ulysses. [Q2090]

Margaret Mead

Life in the twentieth century is like a parachute jump: you have to get it right the first time. [Q1424]

Thor Heyerdahl

It is also rarer to find happiness in a man surrounded by the miracles of technology than among people living in the desert of the jungle and who by the standards set by our society would be considered destitute and out of touch. [Q1537]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every fact is related on one side to sensation, and, on the other, to morals. The game of thought is, on the appearance of one of these two sides, to find the other: given the upper, to find the under side. [Q410]

Meister Eckhart

You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion. [Q1638]

Scott Nesler

The lack of a common language is a barrier. Even with the same dialect, each technology contains its own obtrusive jargon. Joining together a diverse group in a common language requires time and resources which many are not motivated to provide. [Q378]

Jeff Atwood

In software, we rarely have meaningful requirements. Even if we do, the only measure of success that matters is whether our solution solves the customer’s shifting idea of what their problem is. [Q677]

Swami Vivekananda

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. [Q1140]

Howard Zinn

Americans have been taught that their nation is civilized and humane. But, too often, U.S. actions have been uncivilized and inhumane. [Q383]

Brad Paisley

It's less about politics for me, but more about things that seem right and wrong. [Q1711]

Alcee Hastings

Not just Christians and Jews, but also Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and the followers of many other religions believe in values like peace, respect, tolerance and dignity. These are values that bring people together and enable us to build responsible and solid communities. [Q1499]

Thor Heyerdahl

One learns more from listening than speaking.And both the wind and the people who continue to live close to nature still have much to tell us which we cannot hear within university walls. [Q1538]

Senator Paul Simon

The Illinois State Journal some time ago carried an editorial titled 'The Right to Know' suggesting Illinois enact a law similar to one in California requiring actions and deliberations of government bodies of that state be conducted in public ... I stressed over and over that the public had the right to know what decisions a public body reached and how they reached it. [Q1721]

Wendell Berry

The logic of governmental efficiency, unchecked, runs straight on, not only to dictatorship, but also to torture, assassination, and other abominations. [Q1334]

Albert Einstein

Intellectuals solve problems. Geniuses prevent them. [Q1956]

The Holy Bible

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 5,6, and 7 - Sermon on the Mount - YouTube [Q1611]

George C. Williams

The moment-of-conception fallacy implies that fertilization is a simple process with never a doubt as to whether it has or has not happened. [Q1056]

Whitney A Brown

The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down. [Q91]

Isaac Asimov

Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know - and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance. [Q702]

John Boyd Orr

Our civilization has evolved through the continuous adjustment of society to the stimulus of new knowledge. [Q1149]


The eyes of the soul of the multitudes are unable to endure the vision of the divine. [Q897]

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